El Portal, California

El Portal is a census-designated place[3] in Mariposa County, California.[2] It is located 11.5 miles (19 km) west-southwest of Yosemite Village,[4] at an elevation of 1,939 feet (591 m).[2] The population was 474 at the 2010 census.

El Portal
The Old El Portal Schoolhouse
Location of El Portal in Mariposa County, California.
El Portal
Location in California
Coordinates: 37°40′29″N 119°47′03″W
Country United States
State California
  Total1.639 sq mi (4.247 km2)
  Land1.592 sq mi (4.124 km2)
  Water0.047 sq mi (0.123 km2)  2.89%
Elevation1,939 ft (591 m)
  Density290/sq mi (110/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
GNIS feature IDs259813; 2583008
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: El Portal, California; U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: El Portal, California

El Portal lies along State Route 140 by the Merced River located on the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. It is partly under the administrative jurisdiction of Yosemite National Park. Community buildings include a post office, community center, and a small school. Town businesses include two hotels, a small general store, and a gas station.

El Portal plays host to a number of outdoor activities.

El Portal was the terminus of the Yosemite Valley Railroad at the entrance to the National Park,[4] and in 1978 Hetch Hetchy Railroad no. 6 was brought to El Portal and added to the National Register of Historic Places.[5] El Portal is Spanish for "the gateway" derived from this fact.[4]

The first post office at El Portal opened in 1907.[4]

The National Park Service and several park partner organizations have offices in El Portal.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covered an area of 1.639 square miles (4.245 km2), of which 1.592 square miles (4.123 km2) was land and 2.89% was water.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

The 2010 United States Census[7] reported that El Portal had a population of 474. The population density was 289.1 people per square mile (111.6/km²). The racial makeup of El Portal was 434 (91.6%) White, 1 (0.2%) African American, 9 (1.9%) Native American, 5 (1.1%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 5 (1.1%) from other races, and 20 (4.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28 persons (5.9%).

The Census reported that 474 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 230 households, out of which 41 (17.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 84 (36.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 14 (6.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 7 (3.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 12 (5.2%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 1 (0.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 93 households (40.4%) were made up of individuals and 13 (5.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06. There were 105 families (45.7% of all households); the average family size was 2.65.

The population was spread out with 73 people (15.4%) under the age of 18, 29 people (6.1%) aged 18 to 24, 181 people (38.2%) aged 25 to 44, 156 people (32.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 35 people (7.4%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

There were 276 housing units at an average density of 168.3 per square mile (65.0/km²), of which 88 (38.3%) were owner-occupied, and 142 (61.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.1%. 185 people (39.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 289 people (61.0%) lived in rental housing units.


The area made national headlines in 1999 when a trio of women disappeared from a lodge which set off a statewide search. For details, check the page on Cary Stayner.


  1. U.S. Census Archived 2012-01-24 at WebCite
  2. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: El Portal, California
  3. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: El Portal, California
  4. Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 770. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  5. National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  6. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  7. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - El Portal CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
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